Grown-ups deserve summer treats — something sophisticated, exotic and maybe a little intoxicating. Try gourmet flavors like cantaloupe and basil, lemon and ginger, or Egyptian hibiscus and peach. Or, for a summer cocktail party, what about a mojito ice pop with mint leaves suspended inside, or pineapple and coconut, with a dash of rum and flaked coconut garnish?
In Ice Pops!, Cesar and Nadia Roden present 50 wonderfully adult recipes (although kids will like a lot of the non-alcoholic varieties, too).
Nadia Roden, who started selling her gourmet ice pops from a food cart in New York, says that simple combinations often work best, although herbs and spices such as basil and star anise bring a nice complexity.
The book has tips on how to make the icy treats turn out just right: too much alcohol will keep them from freezing. To suspend fruit or herbs inside, fill the mold halfway and freeze a bit before adding them . Or skewer the treat on the wooden stick.
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You can buy ready-made molds for your ice pops or use just about anything, even shot-size wax-lined paper cups. To keep sticks in place, cover the mold with foil and poke through.
Ice pops make a great impression at a party, especially outdoors, Roden says.
These recipes are from the Rodens' book:
Mojito ice pops
2¼ cups water
Generous ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh mint leaves plus 20 extra leaves
Scant 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5-6 limes)
4 tablespoons white rum
10 extra thin lime slices to suspend in molds
Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and drop in 1 cup of mint leaves. Cover with a lid, refrigerate and steep for a few hours or overnight.
Strain the syrup through a fine strainer, squeezing any juice from the mint leaves back into the pan. Finely chop 10 of the 20 extra mint leaves, and add them to the syrup with the lime juice and rum, and mix well. It should taste quite sharp.
Drop a slice of lime into each ice pop mold along with a mint leaf. Ladle in the mixture, leaving 1/4-inch at the top to let the mixture expand when it freezes. Insert the ice pop sticks (the lime slices will be pushed down again to the bottom by the sticks) and freeze.
Pineapple and coconut ice pops
Freshly squeeze juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2⁄3 cups granulated sugar
1¾ cups unsweetened coconut milk
4 tablespoons rum (optional)
Cut the crown off the pineapple and discard. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, cut away the peel with a sharp knife, and cut out any remaining "eyes." Cut each half in half again, lengthwise. Cut away and discard the hard core, then cube the flesh.
Put the pineapple cubes, lemon juice and zest, sugar and coconut milk in a food processor and blend, allowing some chunks to remain. Taste and add more sugar, if needed. If you decide to add rum, stir it in now.
Pour the mixture into your ice pop molds, leaving 1/4 inch at the top to let the mixture expand when it freezes. Insert the ice pop sticks and freeze.
Variation: For a sharper, very lively tasting ice pop, replace the coconut milk with 12⁄3 fresh orange juice or water, and dip the frozen ice pop in coconut flakes, if you like.
For an open house in May, Lexington interior designer James Snowden made a big punch bowl of peach sangria for his Fable + Flame customers.
"It always reminds me of a great summer cocktail, and if you're going to have large groups of people, it's easy to make large batches," said Snowden, whose store is at 125 Burt Road. "The peach sangria is my favorite and was a big hit at our open house. It's not a traditional red wine sangria; it's a loose interpretation."
It's easy to make, combining fruit and wine in a fizzy punch. Snowden's recipe calls for using frozen fruit instead of ice, which dilutes the flavor as it melts.
James Snowden's peach sangria
1 bottle white zinfandel
16 ounces cranberry juice
16 ounces pineapple juice
16 ounces peach schnapps
16 ounces lemon-lime soda
Whole sweet cherries
1 bag frozen peaches
Stir together in big punch bowl and serve.
Another big fan of sangria is Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.
"Everyone who lived through the 1970s remembers serving big pitchers of sangria made with chilled Spanish red wine, orange and spices," Garten wrote recently. "It was delicious, but I decided to update that classic with more summery ingredients. I use chilled rose wine steeped with fresh strawberries, raspberries and plums, plus a dash of Grand Marnier and cognac. It's so refreshing for an outdoor party, and the best part is you can make a big pitcher long before the guests arrive."
This recipe is from Make It Ahead by Ina Garten.
Summer rosé sangria
1 (750 ml) bottle good rosé wine
1/2 cup Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
¼ cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
Water and ice, plus extra ice for serving
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
8 large fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 red plums, pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick
Combine the rosé, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar, Grand Marnier, cognac, 1 cup of water and 1 cup ice in a large glass pitcher. Stir in the raspberries, strawberries and plums; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, fill wine goblets or highball glasses halfway with ice. Pour the sangria over the ice, spooning some of the macerated fruit into each glass. Serve ice cold. Serves 6.
Snow cones and slushy cocktails
Another summer trend that's easy to hop on is boozy snow cones. These are popular in cities like San Francisco, where the Derby Cocktail Co. makes its famous snow cone cocktails with fresh-squeezed juices and fruit purees. You can turn just about any kind of cocktail into the snow-cone variety by chilling the drink then drizzling it over shaved or finely crushed ice.
Derby Cocktail's "Triple Crown" of snow cones: the Bramble, made with gin, blackberry lemon; the Hurricane, made with rum, passionfruit lime; and the Brown Derby, made with bourbon, grapefruit, honey.
You can use a cheap shaved ice machine or crush ice with a blender.
Or try another technique recommended by Liquor.com: freeze the whole cocktail in a shallow dish, then rakie it with a fork a few times to create shaved ice.
This recipe is from Liquor.com and was contributed by Jessica Battilana.
Peach bourbon smashsnow cone
11/2 cups peach nectar (either store-bought or homemade from ripe peaches, peeled, liquefied and strained)
1 ounce mint simple syrup (sugar and water mixed in equal parts, with mint leaves steeped in for flavor)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
4 ounces bourbon
Thinly sliced peach and 4 mint sprigs for garnish
In a small bowl, stir together peach nectar, mint simple syrup, lemon juice and bourbon. Pour into a wide glass or stainless steel pan; the liquid should be about one inch deep. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for two hours.
Remove from the freezer and rake the tines of a fork across the surface to break up any ice crystals that have formed. Return to the freezer and let freeze until solid (at least 8 hours or overnight).
Before serving, remove from the freezer and rake the fork across the surface, scraping and breaking it up until it resembles fluffy shaved ice. Scoop into four paper cones or chilled coupes, and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.
Ice cream goes well with so many things, including beer.
Yes, beer floats are a thing. Try a dark beer like a coffee stout paired with vanilla ice cream or bittersweet dark chocolate.
If bourbon is more your thing than beer, Buffalo Trace recommends combining its Bourbon Cream with root beer. Drop in a scoop of ice cream (maybe Graeter's Bourbon Ball?) and you have dessert.